Dozens of universities, research institutes, foundations, and scientific societies, including the IMS, have joined forces to celebrate 2013 as a special year for the Mathematics of Planet Earth (see Hans Künsch’s cover article). The Annals of Applied Statistics has been publishing cutting edge research in this area for five years, including the physical, ecological, and socioeconomic aspects of our planet. As a prelude to MPE2013, the December 2012 issue of the Annals of Applied Statistics will feature a special section dedicated to this theme. See forthcoming papers.